Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Caillou and the Missing Memory

Although we live in a fairly suburban area, I want, like most parents, for my children to experience the best of all possible living environments. I want them to know the urban privilege of walking to the grocery store alongside the rural experience of growing and picking our own food for dinner. (Still, we may have taken the " eat what we grow" idealism too far. Last week at dinner, Jackson announced clearly, "I want a butterfly sandwich." The other three of us looked at one another in amusement and bewilderment--"Emily, what does he mean?"--until I finally figured out he was referring to the bowtie pasta Emily was eating.)

Despite the 100 degree temperatures, I'm determined to give my children as much time for outdoor activity as possible. Tim and I love being outdoors and we're really happy that our children seem to enjoy it just as much. So as part of my desire to create for them quintessential outdoor summer fun, the children and I set out last week to pick blackberries near our house on what used to be a dairy farm and what is now being rapidly developed as a church/apartment complex/retail property.

Keeping the heat in mind, we prepared to go early in the day (although early for us is about 10 a.m.). We loaded up the bike-trailer-converted-to-a-double-running-stroller with water bottles, sippy cups, toys, several plastic containers for the dozens of berries we were bound to pick, and both children. Now, the children together at this point weigh in at about 72 pounds, and when you add in the weight of the stroller and its amenities, I figure the entire contraption, human and mechanical combined, is upward of 100 pounds. For the uninitiated, it tends to be hilly around here, which only serves to increase the concerned looks and comments I garner from friends and neighbors when I run alone. When I saddle up the big stroller, I try to do so as furtively as possible.

We had run no further than a quarter of a mile from our house when I spotted a DVD in the gutter in my path, sitting in some slimy water. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was Caillou's Holiday Movie, an all-time favorite of my children (and therefore, a favorite of mine. Anything that occupies my children for 90 minutes in the car is a designated favorite, no matter how whiny the main character or how ingratiating the narrator). How funny, I thought, and it's in perfect condition! I backed up a bit and tossed it into the stroller right next to the kitchen sink. We'd find out which of the neighborhood children had lost it later and return it to its rightful owner.

An hour or so later, our bellies full of blackberries, our arms scratched from thorns, and our composure nearly lost in the sweltering heat, we made our way back home. As I was being dragged by the stroller and its contents back down the big hill, I remembered something...spotty at first...but then with the details filling themselves in: my cleaning out the Honda the day before, Jackson wanting to watch Caillou, my placing the disc and something else from inside the car on top of the Honda...oh...and then all of us getting in the car to run an errand...

While it's not the first time I've driven off with something on top of the car, it is the first time I've found said object in the road and not even realized it was mine. It's also the first time I can't remember what else I left on the car's roof. My memory is definitely not right these days.

Luckily, I have two children with memories that function well--even perfectly. And really, it's only the day-to-day minutiae that I have trouble remembering--and they do that for me! "Mommy, remember you said that if I stopped pulling Jackson across the floor by his toes, that we could go to the pool?"

Yes, I can do without the daily details--that's what my calendar is for (when I remember to write on it). But long-term memories: those are the ones I want to hold onto--the good and perfect ones we create every day as a family.  And as for our blackberries, I'll remember that experience every time I find a container of smooshed berries in the toy box or see the stains under the couch cushions.


Joy said...

That comment about pulling Jackson across the floor by his toes... I can totally picture that! :) We had a great time skiing and tubing yesterday with your little Em! See y'all this weekend!

megan said...

Here I am in the public library surrounded by random strangers and a little self-concious about how hard I've been laughing. Anyway, thanks for sharing your future memories. :). We had such a great time with y'all this past weekend. Love you!

Damie said...

wait, what it updated blog???? :)

Melissa said...

Love your stories, you should compile a short story book and have it published. I can so relate to the memory (or lack of) thing.